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12 Essential Garden Tools for the Beginner

Are you new to gardening and need to know the must have essential garden tools?

Ah, gardening tools! Yes I’m a woman who loves her flowers, plants, and shrubs but they always seem to need my attention. 

Are you staring at your yard and mumbling under your breath “I need to trim that”.

Yes, I am with you! So to help you out,  I thought I would share the essential garden tools that I own and some that I WISH I had. My garden consists of a small side yard and multiple flower containers, so when I say small it is small!

What I’ll recommend are the must-have garden tools most homeowners or even renters need for basic garden and small yard maintenance.

What won’t be covered in this list is mowing, edging or major landscaping.

10 Tasks that Require Garden Tools

  1. Planting
  2. Weeding
  3. Pruning
  4. Trimming
  5. Shaping
  6. Dead-heading flowers
  7. Raking
  8. Digging
  9. Cleaning dirt and debris
  10. Watering

When your yard starts looking overgrown is usually when you start thinking – hey, I need some tools.

If you are new to gardening, I’ll feature the products I’ve used over and over for yards large and small those are the “12 Essential Garden Tools”.

Then if you are feeling comfortable with the basics, then I’m helping you step up to tools that are even more helpful with a hedge trimmer video at the end!

A disclaimer – I am not a gardening expert and just a tool advisor! For more expert advice on pruning here is a great article from Better, Homes & Gardens: What to Prune When

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12 Essential Garden Tools for the Beginner

Post contains hand selected products, with some affiliate marketing links {full disclosure here} 

12 Must Have Garden Tools

Here I’ll show you the basic garden tools you need for planting, maintaining flowers and a small amount of landscaping.

Let’s start by “digging” into what tools you need for your garden!

  1. Garden Tool Organizer
  2. Waterproof Garden Gloves
  3. Trowel, Cultivator, Transplanter Kit
  4. Pruning Shears
  5. Hedge Shears 
  6. Leaf Rake
  7. Broom
  8. By-Pass Lopper
  9. Digging Shovel
  10. Square Garden Spade
  11. Garden Bag
  12. Hose

If you are ready to step up your gardening game and invest in some additional tools, these will make some of the work easier!

5 Extremely Helpful Garden Tools

  1. Blower
  2. Hedge Trimmer
  3. Garden Scooter
  4. Kneeler
  5. Automatic Hose Reel

The Purpose of Each Garden Tool

It’s important to have a general understanding of each tool and how you can use it.  To help put it into understandable buckets, I’ll divide up the general tasks of gardening.

Fundamentally, start with a garden tool organizer for all this stuff and waterproof garden gloves to keep your hands protected while digging in the dirt.

Planting, Digging, and Weeding

Knockout Double Pink Rose Shrub Plants
Knockout Double Pink Rose Shrub

The trowel, cultivator and transplanter kit is perfect for both planting container gardens, adding flowers to a garden bed, and weeding.

I love the cultivator (it looks like a claw) because it prepares the soil for planting and can also help in pulling out large weeds.

For larger projects, like planting or removing bushes you will need larger tools! That’s why I’ve recommended a digging shovel and a square spade shovel.

A square spade shovel can be used to edge a bed, smooth dirt or mulch.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to use it to kill a poisonous snake once too! Yikes.

Pruning, Trimming and Shaping

shrubs that need to be manicured

If you have little stray branches beginning to grow (see the tree above) pruning shears are a quick remedy to remove them easily and for dead-heading flowers. 

Step up to hedge sheers for shaping a shrub, bush or hedge by hand.

A tree may have a limb that needs to be removed and the by-pass lopper helps you reach up high or low and trim individual branches or small limbs.

Next, if you feel comfortable with battery operated garden tools then the fastest way to trim and shape shrubs and bushes is by using a hedge trimmer.

A hedge trimmer speeds up the process and what would normally take a half a day can take a couple of hours! Here is the one I use and recommend.

My favorite trick to save time and trouble (mentioned in the video) is to place an old sheet down under what you are trimming to catch the debris.

Then bundle and throw the clippings into the landscape bin!

Cleaning Dirt and Debris

A good old-fashioned broom and dust pan comes in handy to sweep up the mess from any gardening activity.  

I love my blower to accomplish a lot in a short period of time or if I need to clean a larger area and don’t feel like wearing out my back!

Mulch and dirt can be spread with a rake and of course be used to clean up leaves in the yard during the fall season.

A garden bag has multiple uses like transporting dirt or your yard clippings.  

My home doesn’t have storage for a wheelbarrow, so I use a garden bag and old plastic trash cans instead!

Comfort and Garden Care

A couple of luxury items are the scooter, the kneeler, and automatic hose reeler! A garden scooter may not be a likely choice, but I use it to haul flowers, potting soil, and to sit while I am planting containers.

Literally, I roll sideways from one flower to another. It is a real back saver! The kneeler serves the same purpose, but you lift and move it plus it has a handy tool organizer.

Which you choose is a personal preference.

Then of course you need to make sure to water all that you have planted and are maintaining!

A basic garden hose is a must and I’m recommending an automatic hose reeler because I’d love one myself.

Not having to hand reel the hose sounds like heaven!

Want Some Flower and Plant Ideas?

Check out Easy to Grow Flowers from my Southern Garden where I show you what are tried and true flowers, plants and evergreens in my yard.

Are you feeling more confident and ready to tackle some yard work? I’ll be right there with you.

After all of that work, I’ll be sitting back to enjoy the view from my porch. Always take time to enjoy your hard work and smell the roses!

Please consider following me on Instagram for daily pictures of my home or Pinterest for lots of home inspiration!

Or if you want to see what I’m doing weekly please consider signing up for my weekly email newsletter 🙂

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. I never thought about using garden bags in the place of a wheelbarrow. My wife and I are moving to a smaller home that doesn’t have any sort of storage for items that big, so we are trying to find out ways to still work on a garden without some of the normal tools we usually have. We will certainly keep this article in mind as we look for smaller replacement items to use.

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